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+1 this. If I was looking for a used lathe I would get in touch with folks at a local turning club,  and in SoCal there's gonna be more than one. Once you find a club or two go to a meeting.

There is a reason they call turning the slippery slope.  The lathe is a small part of what you'll spend.  Chucks, tools, lights, rests, sharpening, gizmos and doo-dads abound. 

I originally had a 10" PSI lathe and upgraded to a 12" Jet.  I've gone as far as doing outboard turning on it by flipping the headstock around.  Pile enough weight on these midi lathes and they'll do

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18 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

Yeah i know what a VFD is and how it works but to explain how to install one is outside my Enginerding skills.

Instead of plugging into the 3 pH outlet, the motor is wired to the drive which converts from 1 to 3 phase. How it's wired really depends on the vfd but I can't imagine it being that hard.

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The VFD (variable frequency drive) takes the place of the switch.   Three wires in from the power cord, and three wires out to the motor.   You get all sorts of choices by pushing buttons to change the readout to what you want, including direction, and how fast the motor spins up to final rpm.               I have one on my big bandsaw, and one on the big compressor, which are currently the only 3-phase tools I'm running.  

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I don't know about single phase motors, and VFD's.   I know some variable speed heat pumps use them to control the motor speed, but those are 3 phase to 3 phase commercial units.   I only looked into the ones I needed to run 3 phase from single phase source,  and I like them a lot, but it would be an expensive speed control on a cheap lathe.

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